Sudan: talks continue on UN-African force as more killings reported in Darfur
The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) today attended the sixth meeting of the Tripartite Mechanism, which also includes representatives from the Sudanese Government and the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), to further discuss the world body’s support package for the African troops who are trying to bring peace to war-ravaged Darfur.
Separately, UNMIS reports that earlier this week about 300 Maaliya militiamen attacked a village in south Darfur, with unconfirmed reports stating that 7 people were killed and 4 injured. In west Darfur, the Mission said that eight more families of internally displaced people (IDPs) had recently arrived in El Geneina after fleeing militia attacks.
Today’s meeting of the Tripartite Mechanism was told that more of the UN civilian staff provided for as part of the world body’s light support package to AMIS have been recruited and are presently in Khartoum. They will be deployed shortly to support AMIS, both in Khartoum and in El Fasher, the capital of north Darfur.
The UN light support package provides for the deployment of 105 military staff officers, 33 civilian police officers, and 48 civilian staff. So far, 49 UN military staff officers, 32 UN civilian police officers and 4 UN civilian staff have been deployed to support AMIS in El Fasher and Khartoum.
The package also includes equipment for AMIS, which has now been delivered, except for 168 night vision goggles out of the 360 authorized. The Tripartite Mechanism will hold its next meeting on 7 March at AMIS Headquarters in Khartoum.
Speaking in an interview with UN Radio at the weekend, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern about the situation in Darfur, decrying the “massive human sufferings” in the region, where at least 200,000 people have been killed and 2 million others displaced from their homes since 2003.
Mr. Ban said in talks with his Special Envoy, Jan Eliasson, Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir “promised he would send his reply as soon as possible” on the planned deployment of a hybrid UN-African Union force for Darfur. In the meantime, Mr. Ban stressed the importance of helping the people of the region, where some 4 million civilians rely on assistance to survive.